Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in Banking: A Case Study of ICICI Bank

Focus on ICICI Bank’s Initiatives

The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in banking has gained importance with the aggressive strategies for customer acquisition and retention being employed by banks in today’s competitive milieu.  This has resulted in the adoption of various CRM initiatives by these banks to enable them achieve their objectives.

The steps that banks follow in implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are:

  • Identifying CRM initiatives with reference to the objectives to be attained (such as increased number of customers, enhanced per-customer profitability, etc.),
  • Setting measurable targets for each initiative in terms of growth in profits, number of customers, etc. and
  • Evaluating and choosing the appropriate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package that will help the company achieve its CRM goals (a comparison of pay-offs against investments could be carried out during the evaluation exercise).

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has been deployed in retail banking.  The challenges in managing customer relations in retail banking are due to the multiple products being offered and the diverse channels being used for the distribution of the products.  Customer expectation from banks can be summed up as:

Any time anywhere service, personalized offers, and lower payouts”.

Aggressive marketing and promotions on the part of the banks have resulted in most customers happily switching loyalties to enjoy better privileges, thereby making the task of retaining them more difficult for the banks.

The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in banking has been essentially done for the following purposes:

  • Targeting customers: It is necessary for banks to identify potential customers for approaching them with suitable offers.  The transactional data that is generated through customer interactions and also by taking into account the profile of the customer (such as the lifecycle stage, economic background, family commitments, etc.) needs to be collated into one database to facilitate its proper analysis.  For example, a customer interacts with the banks for savings accounts, credit cards, home loans, car loans, demat accounts, etc.  the data generated through all these services needs to be integrated to enable effective targeting.  After the integration is done, a profitability analysis of the customer needs to be undertaken to acquire an understanding of the profit-worthiness of the customer before targeting him with new offers.
  • Sales reference material: A consolidated information database on all products, pricing, competitor information, sales presentations, proposal templates and marketing collateral should be accessible to all the people concerned.  These prove to be very helpful in Sales Force Automation (SFA) wherein the salesperson gets instantaneous access to all relevant material as and when it is required (especially when he/she is in a meeting with a client.)
  • Consistent interface with customers: The communication to customers from various departments like sales, finance, customer support, etc. should be consistent and not contradictory.  Therefore, all departments should be privy to a unified view of the customer to enable a consistent approach.  Removal of inconsistencies is necessary to ensure that customers are not harassed and frustrated owing to poor internal co-ordination.  This is bound to enhance customer satisfaction.  The contact centres used to interface with customers should ensure consistency in customer interaction, irrespective of the medium used for the interaction such as telephone, Internet, e-mail, fax, etc.

Banks can use the data on customers to effectively segment the customers before targeting them.  Proper analysis of all available data will enable banks to understand the needs of various customer segments and the issues that determine “value” for that segment.  Accordingly, suitable campaigns can be designed to address the issues relevant for that segment and to ensure higher loyalty from these customers.  When data analysis is done in the right manner, it helps in generating opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling.

Read More: Customer Relationship Management in the Banking Sector

ICICI Bank’s CRM Initiatives

ICICI Bank has to manage more than 13 million customers.  The bank has over 550 branches, a network of 2025 ATMs, multiple call centres, Internet banking and mobile banking.  Its customers often use multiple channels, and they are increasingly turning to electronic banking options.  Business from the Internet. ATMs and other electronic channels now comprises more than 50 per cent of all transactions.

In the process of making its business grow to this level, ICICI Bank has distinguished itself from other banks through its relationship with customers.

The Teradata solution focuses on a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.  Information from various legacy and transaction systems is fed into a single enterprise called wide data warehouse.  This allows the bank to generate a single view of its customers.  The warehouse has the capability to integrate data from multiple sources comprising Oracle and flat files.  The Behaviour Explorer enables profiling of customers and querying on various parameters.  These enable the bank staff create suitable campaigns for targeting individual customers on the basis of their requirements.

The logistics in the system have also led to other benefits like interactive reports, unearthing cross-selling opportunities as well as finding out about the channel usage undertaken by a segment.  The data access was facilitated through the  use of Cognos Power Cubes.

The Benefits of CRM

  • Customers’ usage pattern: ICICI’s CRM data warehouse integrates data from multiple sources and enables users to find out about the customer’s various transactions pertaining to savings accounts, credit cards, fixed deposits, etc.  The warehouse also gives indications regarding the customer’s channel usage.
  • New product development: Analysis at ICICI guide product development and marketing campaigns through Behaviour Explorer, whereby customer profiling can be undertaken by using ad hoc queries.  The products thus created take into account the customer’s needs and desires, enabling the bank to satisfy customers through better personalization and customization of services.
  • Central data management: The initial implementation of CRM allowed ICICI to analyse its customer database, which includes information from eight separate operations systems including retail banking, bonds, fixed deposits, retail consumer loans, credit cards, custodial services, online share trading and ATM.

Some Noteworthy CRM Initiatives of ICICI Bank

Mobile ATMs: Customers of ICICI Bank can access their bank accounts through mobile ATMs.  These ATMs are kept in vans and parked at locations that have a high traffic of bank customers such as the commercial areas in a city or upmarket residential areas ICICI Bank now provides standard ATM facilities through ATM vans.  This facility has been tried at Mumbai, Chandigarh and various places in Kerala during specified timings.

Bulk Deposits: The ICICI Bank’s Bulk Deposit ATMs enable customers to deposit large amounts at one time.  Unlike conventional ATMs, which are able to accept only 30 notes at a time, these ATMs allow the deposit of huge amounts.  The Bulk Deposit ATM is available in Mumbai’s Vashi sector branch office of ICICI. The bulk deposit facility can be availed of by select customers who need to deposit huge amounts of cash.  ICICI Bank issues a special card called the `Deposit Only Card’ to facilitate this service.  This card allows for deposit transactions only.  The service is further facilitated by the provision of special bags at ATMs in which a customer can put his money. After the deposit slip is filled, the bag can be inserted in the ATM.  The transaction slip is then generated by the ATM as an acknowledgement of the deposit.  ICICI Bank also has cash pick-up service for business customers under the business banking segment.

ATMs for the visually challenged: ICICI Bank has launched ATMs with special voice-guided systems, which guide a visually challenged person to access ATMs without any help.  The jack on the terminal enables headphones to be connected to it and voice commands enable the customer to transact business.  Customers may choose a suitable language to get voice commands.  After the language selection is done, the customer is guided to ensure that the ATM card is inserted in the right slot and thereafter, guidance is provided for entering the PIN by using the keypad.  A raised button is provided on number 5 to enable users to identify the numbers easily through touch.  The slot for cash collection has such raised `pips’ that enable easy identification through touch.

Other Services through ATMs: Apart from the usual transactions involving the bank, some other services can also be availed of by ICICI Bank customers.  These include:

  • Prepaid mobile recharge
  • Buying and renewing Internet packs (such as those of TATA Indicom Internet service provider and Sify).
  • Making donations for Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanams, Nathdwara temple and Shri Mata Vaishnodevi shrine.
  • Mutual fund transactions, and
  • Bill payments

Mobile phone as a Virtual Wallet: The mobile phone has been transformed into a virtual wallet – a new innovation in mobile commerce.  On September 19, 2005, Airtel, ICICI Bank and VISA announced the launch of mChq – a revolutionary new service – which is a credit card using the mobile phone.  This is the first mobile-to-mobile payment option which enables Airtel customers and ICICI Bank Visa cardholders to pay for their purchases with their Airtel Mobile phones.  The service has eliminated the need for carrying physical cash for making a purchase and also the problems associated with the point of sale (POS) terminal since the mobile phone services as a secure POS and a payment mechanism.

Social Events: ICICI Bank organized the largest domestic invitational amateur golf event for HN1 (high-net-worth individuals) customers.  This nation-wide golf tournament had over one lakh high-net-worth clients of ICICI Bank’s private banking division participating in the event.

Mobile Banking Benefits: Mobile banking enables the customer to avail of many facilities by just sending an SMS.  These facilities, which are currently offered free of cost, are as follows:

  • Locating ATM
  • Locating branch
  • Locating drop box
  • Alert facilities like salary credit, account debit/credit, cheque bounce, etc., and
  • Queries on banking, cards and demat account


  1. Explain the initiatives take by ICICI Bank to promote Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
  2. Discuss the benefits of the initiatives taken by ICICI Bank to promote Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
  3. What should be the core elements of CRM that ICICI bank in your opinion should follow, besides what they are already following to make themselves a distinct bank from their competitors
  4. Outsourcing CRM is one activity that most organizations follow.  Is it a viable option.  Give your views keeping in mind the cost involved in implementing CRM and enhancing business also.

Bookmark the permalink.